As I get closer to the opening day of our local farmers market I am working my tail off to get as much fiber from my rabbits as possible. Since my females are anticipating litters any day now I have refrained from collecting their fiber. Their fiber will be pulled by them to build up comfy little nests for their babies. However, all the males are still fair game. I have been brushing the boys about twice a week. This time of year they typically blow out their winter coats as the weather begins to warm. After picking out all the hay and any mats the fiber is then ready to be spun.
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I spin using an Ashford traditional wheel. I also have a second Ashford but it is in need of some TLC. I am waiting for parts to come in for that additional wheel. Once fully repaired I will be able to demonstrate and teach others how to spin. This backup wheel is missing the brake band and tension knob which is a very easy fix. I ordered a brake kit from Paradise Fibers, they are about a four-hour drive from the homestead; luckily they have an amazing online store that fills orders quickly! Paradise Fibers is my go-to store for spinning wheel parts and accessories, they even have a great selection of fiber bats that I will have to try someday soon.
I recently started double plying my single ply angora with cotton embroidery thread. I originally was doing 100% angora yarn but was informed by another spinner from a social media group that the angora art yarns are were easier to sell and work with when plied with embroidery thread. I am glad I made this switch. My fiber will now go further and be more affordable for my customers. I was able to find the thread at a low cost on Amazon. I simply use a base color like black when spinning grey toned fiber and a cream or white for the reds and tan and brown thread for my chocolate fiber. I am very happy with the results hopefully others will be too!
Now, to just figure out how to price my art yarn. There are hundreds of ways you can price out handspun yarn. A few examples are by weight, yardage or a complex calculation of materials and time. I think I will just base my price on yardage. Angora goes for roughly $6-12 an ounce and with an ounce, I can make roughly 50 yards but this would not include the cost of my thread for the double ply or my time. Since my craft right now is mostly for my own enjoyment and not for a financial gain I will not include labor in my overall price. A skein of angora yarn can reasonably sell for $60+ but since I have not yet tested the market I will start lower especially since it is not 100% angora. If I list a 120-yard skein for $36 that would be 32 cents a yard or roughly $9 per ounce of fiber. This will be a trial by fire experience for me as I have not yet sold any of my yarns (a few trades here and there but never a cash exchange).
Do you spin fiber? Have you ever sold your handspun yarn? How have you calculated the cost per skein? I am excited and nervous to pursue this endeavor. Wish me luck!